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Viewers feel sick after disturbing tapeworm scene in popular horror series

Viewers feel sick after disturbing tapeworm scene in popular horror series

"The absolute most traumatic episode of TV I've seen."

Warning: contains themes around eating disorders and body image that some readers may find upsetting

Viewers of a hit horror series have been left well and truly disturbed after watching a scene involving a tapeworm.

In fact, some have gone as far as to say it's the most 'traumatising' thing they've ever seen.


Fans of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story have got used to all sorts of graphic scenes throughout the show's multiple seasons and spinoffs.

With twelve instalments of AHS and three of Stories, there's guaranteed to be something for everyone who loves a good scare.

However, some fans seem to think that episode three of the third chapter of Stories ('Tapeworm') went a little too far telling the story of an aspiring model who goes to great lengths to lose weight.

The episode tells the story of Vivian Lee Finch (Laura Kariuki), a bubbly, positive young woman who dreams of becoming a professional model.

In the opening scene, we see her walking to the renowned modelling agency ran by Sheila Klein in New York City, with the show informing the audience the episode is set in the 'not so distant past'.

Spoilers for American Horror Stories' 'Tapeworm' ahead... you've been warned!

There, Vivian is told that she is too big to book a job, with Sheila herself (played by Real Housewives star Lisa Rinna) coldly explaining that she won't ever model if she's a size 4.

Vivian is determined to get what she wants and resorts to dangerous solutions to fit into the impossible beauty standards set by the agency.

She starts taking a weight loss medication, losing weight and getting booked for jobs.

But when her newly diagnosed heart condition makes it impossible for Vivian to continue taking the drug, her doctor - Thaddeus Lau (Rob Yang) - offers her a different, disgusting solution.


That's when the tapeworm comes into play.

Vivian digests it after being told the worm would eat anything she eats. Of course, as it is often the case in the American Horror Story universe, things don't end well for the protagonist.

Not only does her personality change after she eats the worm, but she also gets extremely unwell and is ultimately killed by the creature after she pulls him out.

Viewers had strong reactions to the episode, with some grossed out by the graphic scenes, while others pointed out how the episode could be triggering for those struggling with eating disorders and body image.

"Im glad i didn't watch AHS - Tapeworm while I was feeling sick," one person wrote on X.

Some found it traumatising.

"sharing bc i haven’t seen it anywhere, avoid ahs stories tapeworm if you have any issues with ed," another person warned.

"The tapeworm episode from AHS stories is crazy," said another, while someone else added: "AHS Tapeworm episode was the absolute most traumatic episode of tv I’ve seen."

American Horror Stories airs on FX in the US and is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.

If you've been affected by any of the issues in this article and would like to speak with someone in confidence, call the BEAT Eating Disorders helpline on 0808 801 0677. Helplines are open 365 days a year from 9am–8pm during the week, and 4pm–8pm on weekends and bank holidays. Alternatively, you can try the one-to-one webchat

Featured Image Credit: FX

Topics: American Horror Story, TV and Film